Screen Printing Fabric (with Nancy Turner)

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Nancy combines hand screen printed, upcycled fabric with small pieces of commercial fabric, and brightly colored zippers, to make these small purses.

Nancy combines hand screen printed, upcycled fabric with small pieces of commercial fabric, and brightly colored zippers, to make these small purses.

In 2016, Nancy Turner taught a class about screen printing fabric. Included here are her thoughts on the class along with images of her work and that of the participants. In spring 2017, Nancy will be teaching a screen printing jam, a one day workshop on screening quick stencils such as contact paper.

Nancy Turner on Screen Printing Fabric

I’ve really embraced printing on fabric. I found it inexpensive and a way to get lots of different effects and colors by simply changing my fabric or ink color, or by printing a pattern onto a patterned fabric. It is a way for a somewhat novice screen printer to come up with something cool and also useful. I am a life long sewist, so I know how to work with different fabrics, how applying ink will change the “hand” of the fabric and, thus, its potential uses. There are lots of variables as you change fabric (just as when you change paper).

Nancy's screen printed tea towel.

Nancy’s screen printed tea towel.

Teaching printing and fabric knowledge was both fun and challenging. I wanted the students to learn something new and also have some successful prints that are truly usable. Two of the students printed on t-shirts, which have their own unique set of issues in printing.

Lisa's t-shirt, printed in Nancy Turner's "Screen Printing on Fabric" class 2016.

Lisa’s t-shirt in 2 colors, including details to show how the ink sinks into the cotton.

Two printed the same design on t-shirts and then on cotton duck, a very heavy fabric, requiring different ink application than on the shirts. And one printed on lightweight linen, which needs a spare pattern and amount of ink. A light touch gets a lovely effect.


Nicci’s lumocolor marker stencil drawn on acetate (left), flowers printed on pink Irish linen in pale grey ink (middle), and the same light grey ink on black paper.

The best part of class was that students asked lots of questions that required me to think of processes and properties of the materials I’d not considered before, because they had not been an issue for me. And, then, the students went at the printing with abandon. They just went at it pretty fearlessly.

A ferris wheel print on cotton duck—textile ink & photo stencil.

A ferris wheel print on cotton duck—textile ink & photo stencil.

The GREAT thing about Tiger Lily classes is that there is no grade, no good or bad, just learning and trying something new with your own satisfaction determining success.

About Nancy’s Work

I learned various types of printing taking Shop in high school and then college Art. I was employed for 20 years writing and managing corporate publications, so worked with large scale commercial printers. I learned new methods of screen printing at Tiger Lily Press, taking an evening class with Tory Keith a few years ago. It was my reentry into printing for pleasure. My tomato print was first, using cut paper for my design and Staedler Lumocolor permanent black marker for details. This has become my signature method and style.


Nancy’s tomato screen, a cut-paper stencil shot on photo emulsion, ready to print!

Since, I’ve created a cache of produce prints I put on tea towels and aprons and also abstract designs that I print on upcycled, deconstructed clothing that I remake into bags. I’m a life long sewist and worked as a tailor some while in college, so easily turn my prints into products. My print work is light-hearted and meant for pure enjoyment.

I call my little printed product business Real Butter Studio. I make my own butter and see it like printing—a few materials, some knowledge and effort transforms to something glorious that’s greater than the sum of the parts.


sewist – a term that combines the word sew and artist; someone who creates works of sewn art.

hand – the hand of fabric is its feel to your touch—is it crisp, soft, stiff, or supple? Fabrics with a stiff hand, for example, might make an uncomfortable piece of clothing, but could work well for upholstery.

Interested in taking a similar class in 2017?

Nancy is teaching two one-day classes, one in May and one in June:

Simple Silk Screen: Sunday, May 21, 12:30-4:30

Learn basic silk screen skills without emulsion while completing a simple print project on fabric. Participants will leave with a finish image that they have printed on fabric forms such as a T shirt ,cloth bag or towels.

Limit: 6 students  $65.00 non-member/ $50.00 members
$10.00 supply fee included

Silk Screen with Stencils: Sunday, June 11, 12:30-4:30

Learn or continue to develop basic silk screening techniques without emulsions while working experimentally and intuitively printing with contact sheet stencils to create multicolored, layered abstract images. Students will leave with a finished portfolio of printed images.

Limit: 6 students  $65.00 non-members/ $50.00 members
$10.00 supply fee included

Spring Special: Receive a $10.00 discount on total fees when you sign up and take both silk screen classes.

To sign up for one or both of these classes, please see our spring class list.



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